What We Ought Not To Have
We desire nothing so much as what we ought not to have. - Publius Syrus
Chapel stepped out of the shower; her skin was raw from where she had scrubbed it until her allocation of hot water had run out. She stood, dripping wet, looking at her reflection in the mirror and hating herself.
How could she have not known Roger was an android? How could she, for one moment, have thought the man she'd loved—the man she'd idolized—could do any of the things that this android Roger had done?
Her door chime sounded, and she ignored it. She ran a jagged fingernail down the inside of her arm, pushing deep, drawing beads of blood to the surface.
Roger hadn't bled. Instead the burning smell of electric wires, of circuits and controllers, had filled the room when he'd caught his arm in the door. Roger had malfunctioned, not been injured.
Her chime sounded again, and she wrapped her robe around her and strode to the door, ready to give whoever it was a piece of her mind. What part of the Privacy Requested symbol she'd set for her status was unclear?
As she palmed the door open, she realized her thin robe was plastered to her body. Didn't matter. It was probably Jan or Ny.
It was not Jan or Ny. It was Spock.
He couldn't goddamn read?
"I had my door set to privacy."
"I am aware of that." He seemed to be taking in the way her robe clung to her, then looked up, meeting her eyes, his expression giving nothing away. "May I come in?"
"Nurse Ch—Christine. I believe it would be beneficial for you to talk."
"To you? I acted like an idiot over you when that virus hit. Why in God's name would you want to talk to me?"
He gently pushed her aside and walked in. "I know what it is like to lose someone. To watch them leave, to keep in contact for a time, and then to have that contact stop. If I put myself in your place, if I imagine finding that person only to realize they have changed beyond all reason, I can only envisage pain."
"You care if I'm in pain? Since when?"
His face changed, the softness shifting to something she thought looked a little like guilt. "I am not in a position to offer you anything other than empathy, Christine—I must make that clear. But I do care that you are in pain." His eyes narrowed, and he gently pulled up the arm she'd scratched. Blood had soaked into the pale yellow of her robe. "You are injured."
"I injured myself. Bit of a difference." She yanked her arm away.
"Do you know that I am a touch telepath?"
She closed her eyes, could imagine what he had just read. "Bully for you."
"The grief and anger, I understand. But shame? Why would you feel shame?"
"My God, you really think we're going to talk about this, don't you?" She moved away, then realized her robe was probably as wet in back as the front. She was giving him one hell of a show. "Let me get dressed," she said as she grabbed the first pair of sweats and an old shirt she found in her dresser and went into the bathroom.
When she came back out, he was sitting at her desk, looking as though he would have waited all night for her. He met her eyes as she sat on the bed, then asked, "Why shame?"
"I wasn't at my best on this...mission. Ask the captain."
"I do not need to. I read his report. He did not censure you in any way."
"Well, he's too kind for his own good, then." She took a deep breath. "I just spent twenty minutes in the shower trying to rub this day off me."
"I understand how the disappointment of not finding your fiancé after all this time might hurt you, but it should not make you feel ashamed."
"I did find him, Spock. He was down there. The captain should write fiction: he's very good at creative reinterpretations."
Spock's eyes narrowed. "You did not find the Roger you knew. I am well aware of how actual events differed from the official report. The captain is, as you say, kind."
"Too kind. I said he was too kind." She looked down. "I let him down. But that's not why I'm ashamed. I can make up for that someday—when he really needs me, I'll be there."
She realized the scratch on her arm was bleeding still and went back into the bathroom, running a small personal healer over it until the torn pieces of skin knit together.
She heard Spock coming up behind her.
"Please let this go."
Spock did not say anything, just leaned against the wall behind her and met her eyes in the mirror.
"I fucked him. He was a machine and I had sex with him. I've been trying to scrub that off me. That's why I'm ashamed."
"You did not know he was a machine when you did it, did you?"
"No, of course not. But I should have. He was...different. More vigorous." She looked away from his reflection. "As if you want to hear the gory details."
"I will listen to whatever you need to say."
"Why?" She turned and pushed past him, going into the bedroom, getting the bed between them as she stood on the far side of it. "Why are you here now?"
"Because now is when you need me."
"I don't need you. I don't need anyone." She began to scratch her arm again, could feel the skin she'd just healed begin to tear.
He moved toward her. "Christine, stop doing that."
"You're calling me by my name. You never call me by my name." She held up her hand and he stopped. "I should have stayed on Earth. I shouldn't have given up everything to look for him—to find...what? A goddamned machine? I've wasted so much time and for what?"
He walked back to her desk, sat and studied her. "I believe that had you not been on the planet with the captain, events might have unfolded very differently. Your presence may have been a mitigating factor, bringing out whatever humanity was left in Doctor Korby."
"You think I helped? I in no way helped. I was useless." She practically spit the last part at him.
"He was your betrothed. You were naturally torn. And perhaps felt called to him after such a long absence."
"Quit being nice. It's very confusing." She sank onto the bed, curled up on it, facing him. "He was...extraordinary—the man I knew, the man I remember. To see him like this..."
"It was very clear from his voice that he cared for you deeply. I would suggest focusing on the man he was, not what he became." He stood, walked over, and laid his hand gently on her hair. "I regret that your search ended in this way. But closure is an often underrated thing. The person I lost remains that way. I have never known what happened."
"I'm sorry." She put her head over his hand, was surprised when he did not pull away. "Thank you for coming to check on me."
He nodded and walked out, leaving her to cry herself to sleep.
Chapel saw Spock ahead of her in the corridor and followed him into the observation room. "Are you all right?"
He turned to look at her. "If you were trying to exercise stealth, you failed."
"These boots have heels that click—can't really help that. Are you all right? This whole thing with Captain Pike...?"
"It is not to be spoken of."
"Just like Roger?" She moved closer and he met her eyes—he looked so tired. "When was the last time you slept?"
"Vulcans do not need as much sl—"
"When was the last time you slept?"
He seemed to give up then. "It has been some time."
She smiled. "Such lack of precision means it's been so long that you know I'll order you to bed as soon as I hear the exact number of days."
A rapidly rising eyebrow was her only answer.
"Spock, get some sleep. Now. If I see you anywhere in the next eight hours, I will tell on you to McCoy."
He seemed to slump a little, the characteristic perfect posture slipping. "I am tired."
"Saving someone you love can be hard work." She held up her hand when he started to say something. "I know, I know, not to be spoken of. Or maybe it was my using 'love' that you were about to object to. Don't really care. Now, let's get you to your quarters—I don't trust you not to get distracted along the way."
He actually followed her. "You are a kind woman, Christine."
"I know. It's a curse. Men never like nice girls."
"I do not believe that is true."
"You don't like me. Not enough to..." She sighed and waved away what she was going to say.
"Not enough to what?"
"To pursue me."
"I am in no position to pursue you."
They were at his door, so she turned to him and gestured for him to palm his door open. "I have no idea what that means to you, but it sounds fairly weak to me. Either you like me or you don't."
"You have many good qualities."
"And so does a prize heifer." She laughed. "Next time, if I fall for an alien, I'm going to go for a more promiscuous type."
He glanced at her arm, and she realized it was where she had scratched herself months ago, after Roger. "I do not believe you really mean that. You do not strike me as promiscuous."
"I know. Not a sexy bone in my body."
"That is not precisely what I said." He closed his eyes for a moment.
"Get in there before you drop. And remember, eight hours or I'll sic McCoy on you."
"Understood." He let the door close behind him, and she turned and tried to tell her heart not to make too much of anything he'd said. The man was sleep deprived and probably saying things he didn't mean.
Chapel saw Spock come into sickbay; he seemed surprised to see her still on the ship instead of on the pleasure planet. "Don't ask why I'm not down there."
"You do not find the idea of your wishes coming true appealing?"
"What would I wish for? Roger back? You? The life I never had on Earth as a scientist?" She shook her head. "Let Len and Tonya enjoy their courtly fantasy or Sulu be D'Artagnan. I'm fine here. Reality is the thing for me."
He studied her for a moment. "Have you eaten?"
"I'm on duty—well technically I'm off duty and covering for someone else, but I'm stuck here. I appreciate the offer, though."
"We can eat here in sickbay. There is a skeleton crew aboard."
"Oh, so it's safe, you mean? No one will see you with me?"
"Perhaps I meant no one will see you with me?" His eyebrow seemed to punctuate the humor.
She smiled. "Either way."
"So you do not wish to eat with me?"
She decided truth was the best response. "If I'd gone down there, Spock, it would have been you that I would have wanted. Doesn't that make you want to run and hide, not bring me food?" Truth was pretty damn embarrassing; she knew she was blushing madly.
"You did not go. I admire that."
There wasn't a trace of sarcasm in his tone. He admired her? "Fine. You can bring dinner."
"What would you like?"
"Do you enjoy spicy food?"
"To some extent. Not so spicy it will burn skin off, but moderately."
He nodded and walked out, and she wondered for a moment if she had gone down to the pleasure planet and was too lost in the fantasy to realize it.
She went back to the inventory she had started to keep herself busy and tried to imagine what her friends were getting up to on the planet. She hoped Jan and Ny had settled far away from each other because she could imagine them both featuring the captain in their little fantasies.
Or maybe Ny wouldn't do that. She had to see the man every day. Jan wouldn't, not now that she was leaving the ship. Chapel felt a bit at loose ends at the idea of Jan not being there to talk to. She loved Ny, but she didn't talk about her crushes the way Jan did—in fact, Chapel suspected that Ny also harbored a crush on Spock.
So maybe Jan was fine wherever she was on the planet, and it was a good thing Chapel wasn't down there to see who was starring in Ny's fantasy.
Fantasy. Like a robot fiancé who made love to you better than the real thing ever had? She should have known right then. Roger hadn't been what you would call talented in bed—but she'd loved him for his mind, not his ability to pleasure her.
She heard the sickbay doors open and turned to see Spock holding a tray. "So what did you get?"
"Vulcan staples." He put the tray down on the nursing desk, and pulled an extra chair over. He was going to eat with her? Not just bring her food and skedaddle? Strange.
She pinched herself, just to make sure she hadn't fallen asleep at her desk. Nope, wide awake.
She sat down across from him and studied the green soup. "Is this pea soup?"
"Plomeek. It is often consumed at breakfast rather than dinner, but humans tend to enjoy it, so I ordered it for you. There is another variety, far more highly spiced, made with red plomeek that is a favorite of mine."
She tried it. Only a little spicy, definitely an earthy taste—almost fungal. Reminded her of some tea she'd once had that came in tightly packed cakes. "It's...different." She moved on to the plate that had some kind of stew.
"That dish is called Tal-kanshak. It is a specialty of the ShiKahr region."
The taste was savory and rich. It reminded her of the sauce on Indian butter chicken. "This is good. Really good."
"It is one of my mother's favorites. I thought you might enjoy it as well."
They ate in silence for a few minutes, then she said, "Is the pleasure planet repellant to you? The idea of...fantasies?"
"I understand the human need to indulge in them, so it does not repel me, but I do not see any need to experience it."
"You'd rather sit in sickbay with me?"
"Yes." He leaned back. "To be frank, I have a proposal for you. I have noticed that you are underutilized here in sickbay."
"You think I'm not working?"
"I think you are not working to your full potential." He reached for the padd on her desk. "May I?"
He worked on it for a moment, then handed it to her. "I am working on this experiment but the segment I have highlighted is one I do not have time for. Would you be interested in participating?"
She started to read and a smile began almost against her will. "This is interesting."
"Yes. I would not work on it otherwise."
"And you'd trust me to do this? I mean, your last parts will depend on me doing this right."
"Do you not trust yourself to do it?"
"What an excellent question." She put the padd down and went back to eating. "It's been a long time since I worked on anything like this. I sort of shoved it all aside when I talked my way into Starfleet."
"Do you think it is like riding a bicycle? I have never understood that saying, by the way."
She smiled at the slight annoyance in his tone. "Do you know how to ride a bicycle?"
"I learned as an adult."
"That's probably your problem. Gotta master bike riding as a kid when you have no idea how far the ground is or how hard it will feel when your bones are older." She reached for the padd again, read the prospectus over. "Yes. Yes, I'd like to do this."
"Excellent. I will assign you space in a lab."
She started to laugh. "Is this your way of keeping me away from you in my free time? Is the lab going to be very far from yours?"
"Would I be sitting here, Christine, introducing you to Vulcan food if I was unduly worried about your activities when you are not on duty?"
She studied him, head back, one eye closed, like an old time surveyor. Her grandfather used to give her this look and it always made her laugh—Spock didn't laugh but did look slightly amused. "I guess not."
"Then it is settled."
"So it is." She took another sip of the soup. "I can't say I'm a huge fan of this."
"It is all right. There are many human foods I find less than pleasant."
"But the stew is going into my list of personal favorites on the synthesizer." She took another bite and sighed happily. "Thank you for bringing me dinner. And science." She tapped the padd and smiled.
His eyes were very gentle as he said, "You are welcome."
Chapel saw Spock and the Kalomi woman in the corridor and stopped. Spock met her eyes, and she ducked into another corridor and double-timed it to the lift. She had seen enough of them on the planet. Doing whimsical things like swinging in trees and smelling the roses—or the planet's version of them.
Not that Chapel hadn't been busy doing stupid things herself. Like, for instance, Ensign Lewis. Nice boy—and he was a boy, just out of the Academy. What the hell had she been thinking?
He was following her around now like a little puppy. Cute as a button but not really her type. She tended to chafe under too much adoration. Probably something she should see a shrink about—her tendency to go for emotionally repressed men—but at least she was used to not being fussed over. Lewis was giving her hives with his sweet nothings whispered in the mess line.
She decided not to chance seeing him in the mess and went straight to her quarters. She was just settling in for a nap when her chime rang.
Holy God, would this kid never give up?
She got up and stomped to the door, intent on giving him a taste of evil Christine, but it was Spock, not Lewis, who waited on the other side of her door. "Oh. Hello."
"You do not look happy to see me."
"I thought you were Lewis."
His expression seemed to darken. "Ah, yes, your paramour from the planet."
He pushed past her and she said, "No, really, Spock, it's fine, barge right in."
He turned to her. "I wished to see if you were all right."
All right from what? Too much sex? How the hell was he if that question was being asked? "I'm fine."
"You were quite busy."
"And you know this how?"
"I saw you with him."
"And I saw you with 'I'm supposedly a scientist' Kalomi. I find it curious that you are in a position to offer me nothing and yet you were screwing her brains out when Lewis and I passed you in the meadow." Screwing with great abandon, and Spock had been kissing Kalomi—Chapel had always wondered if Vulcans kissed.
He blushed. Deeply. "That was the influence of the spores. I am not given to such displays. Intimacy is for private times."
She wanted to give him hell, but she knew he was probably right. She'd never have had sex with Lewis but for those goddamned spores. "Where is the lovely Leila?"
"She beamed off the ship."
It was probably too much to hope that she'd been beamed off into space. Also unprofessional from a medical standpoint: first, do no harm, and all that. "Guess you'll miss her."
"She is a woman of good character."
"When spores aren't involved?" She studied him. "But you're not crying in your beer over her?"
"I do not indulge in crying or in beer." His eyes were untroubled—he didn't look like he'd lost the love of his life.
"Guess I'm glad I ended up with Lewis instead of you. He at least wants something from me afterwards."
"Are you interested in him?" Spock's eyes narrowed and he looked...strange. Possessive, maybe?
"What if I am? You're in no position to offer me anything, remember?" She sat down on the bed.
"I did not realize you had feelings for him."
She rolled her eyes. "I don't, Spock. He's a kid, for cripe's sake. But if I did, you would not have a thing to say about it, got it?"
He nodded, then sat down next to her. "I know I have no right to be, but I am relieved."
"I really don't understand you. I'm sitting right here. I confessed love to you like an idiot already, so that's out of the bag. I'm not going to say no if you ask me to dinner."
"I am aware of that." He took a deep breath, then exhaled slowly. "I should leave you in peace."
"Uh huh. I always feel so peaceful after these non-conversations of ours."
As he stood and headed for the door, she remembered something she wanted to show him. "Hey, before you go, look at this for me." She handed him the padd with the results of the experiment so far.
His eyebrow rose. "This is most unexpected."
"I know. I ran it three times, under three different conditions. Always the same."
He handed the padd back and she said, "Keep it. It's one of my spares. I back up everything. Two to three times." She smiled, felt back on easy ground now that they were talking science.
"I will change my tack on the next phase of my work based on this. Excellent work."
"Thank you, kind sir. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to take a nap. I'm a little worn out." Now, she was blushing.
He met her eyes; his expression was unreadable. "I will let you rest." He stood there a moment longer, then turned on his heel and left.
Chapel carried a tray to the lab and was not surprised to find it locked—she was relatively certain that Spock was inside. She considered ringing for admittance, then on a whim palmed the door to see what would happen.
She stepped inside and saw Spock standing at the viewscreen, his posture not his normal stick-straight perfection. "Spock? Did you program the door to let me in when you have it on privacy lock?"
"I did." His voice was off, and she realized the certainty that was normally in it—the almost arrogance—was gone. "You are contributing to the experiment, are you not?"
"I am." She put the tray down and walked over to him. "Are you all right?"
"Do you have a reason to think I would not be?"
"You were with Len and the captain on that planet. Len is holed up in his office drinking, and I've seen the captain three times in the corridors today and he didn't smile once. And you—it's not like you to lock up a whole lab just so you can stare out the window."
"It was a difficult mission."
"And you can't talk about it?"
"I can. I am not sure I want to."
"Okay." She stared out the viewscreen, standing closer to him than she normally would, and waited.
He turned to her, seemed to be studying her intently. "I made a man ignore his heart and do the right thing for the universe."
"Well, if that man was Len or the captain, I doubt you made them do anything. They would do it. Don't blame yourself."
"A woman died because of me."
Suddenly some of the things that Ny had said about the landing party made sense. "Isn't it more that you ensured what was supposed to happen did happen?"
He closed his eyes.
"You like your version better? Easier to beat yourself up?" She took his arm, and he didn't shake her off. "Come on. I got you some soup. I found a recipe for red plomeek in the synthesizer—figured it was the kind you liked."
"I am not hungry."
"I don't care. Eat." She pushed him onto a stool and slid the tray over to him. Once he lifted the spoon, she said, "I'll leave you alone now."
"Christine. Stay. Talk to me of our experiment. Have you made further progress?"
"I have. I'll gladly distract you with science if that's what you want."
"It is not what I want." The look he gave her was searing, and she found herself blushing. "But it will do."
"Stop that. You'll give me the wrong idea." She smiled at him. "Although it might be fun to see Len's face if you actually were interested in me."
"He is unkind to you?"
"He embraces sarcasm like it's a lost art form. And I don't think he knows quite how mean he comes off sometimes. I can handle him."
"Does he not know we are working together?"
She shook her head. "I told Ny. But I wasn't sure if you really wanted it widely known."
"We may be published at some point. Your name will be on the paper."
"I know. I just—with Roger, I was used to being discreet. He was my professor and then my advisor. You're the First Officer. I thought discretion would be in order for this, too. Did I do wrong?"
"No. But you do not have to keep it a secret."
She smiled. "I'm glad to hear it. But I'd hate to take away Len's fun by letting him know you and I are actually friends."
"Friends." Again the intense look. "Yes, we are friends."
"Quit talking, keep eating, and let me distract you." She waited until he put the spoon back in the soup, then proceeded to tell him all the latest from her part of the experiment.
Chapel stood in front of Spock's quarters holding a tray, unsure even though he'd asked her to make him soup, if she should ring for admittance. After having it thrown at her, nearly wearing it—after the odd thing he'd said just before he'd asked for the soup—she wasn't sure she should go in.
But he needed her. She could tell that. She'd spent enough time with him, even if suddenly he was being too formal, calling her "Miss Chapel" instead of "Christine."
She sighed and rang the chime; the door slid open. His room was warmer than before. "Spock?" She would be damned if she'd add the "Mister" this time. They were friends, weren't they? They were working on a project together. Just because he was being formal didn't mean she had to be.
He walked out of the bathroom, stared at her with an intensity that made her vastly uncomfortable.
"Remind me where the ship is headed."
She narrowed her eyes. "Vulcan."
He took a ragged breath. "Yes. Vulcan. I can wait."
She put the soup down on his desk then retreated toward the door. "What did you mean earlier? That it would be illogical for us to protest against our natures?"
He sat, picked up the spoon, and his hand shook violently as he ate. In any other case, she would feed a patient too weak or shaky to eat. But she did not think trying it would be a good idea—she'd end up wearing the soup again.
"I was speaking in a way I should not, Christine. There is what is prescribed and then there is that which is desired." He nodded as if the conversation was closed.
Well, that cleared it right up. "I'm going to go now."
"That would be best. I am deeply appreciative of your kindness. And I regret yelling at you before."
"Why did you?"
He held the spoon over the bowl. "It is not fitting that you feed me, and yet I eat what you brought."
"You need to keep your strength up. That, in my book, is completely fitting."
He did not look at her as he said softly, "The depths of your intellect are a constant surprise to me and yet you do not see."
"I see that you're acting really strangely."
He laughed. A soft, puff of air, but still a laugh.
"And it just gets stranger." She found herself inching toward the door, stopped and forced herself to walk more normally. "We'll be at Vulcan soon."
"Yes. We will."
"Everything will be all right then."
"It is good that you think so. I will see you when my leave is over." He sounded...sad about that, and she didn't think it was the seeing her part of it that made him sad.
She decided not to ask him about it. He might think she wasn't seeing what was right in front of her, but she could see enough to know that she didn't belong in his quarters right now.
Even though she thought he wanted her there very much.
Chapel was in her quarters changing out of her uniform when her comm terminal buzzed. She saw a message waiting for her, read it and then had to reread it.
It was from Spock. It said: "Would you come to my quarters?"
"When?" she sent back.
"Now." Nothing else.
She started to laugh. He was a man of so few words at times. She sent back "K" and wondered if he would be amused that she'd managed to answer with less letters. Or if he'd even understand what she meant. Did he text-comm people very often?
She looked at the outfit she was going to put on—a simple pair of black pants and a grey sweater—and for a moment debated picking out something...sexier.
No. What she had picked would do. She took her hair down from the curled bun she'd created, then pulled it back into a simple pony tail. Studying herself in the mirror, she reached for a cleansing cloth and scrubbed off her makeup, then applied just a coat of mascara. Let him see her when she wasn't trying. Somehow that seemed important.
She walked to his quarters, buzzed for admittance, and the door slid open.
Spock stood near the entrance to his sleeping area, and he stared at her in a way that completely unnerved her. "You are beautiful."
She knew she was blushing. "Is that what you called me here to tell me?"
He shook his head.
"And thanks, by the way, for leaving me in the dark. You had a goddamn fiancée?"
"I told you repeatedly I was in no position to pursue you."
"You could have been more explicit. I would have understood if you'd said there was a woman in the way. When you leave it ambiguous, I'm afraid it translates to rejection."
"I did not mean for my words to be read as that." He moved closer. "How much do you know of what has gone on these past days?"
"I know you were different—emotional. I know your hormones were out of whack. And now they're not. I know you said some very strange things to me in here—protesting against our natures and such." She inched closer. "Were you seducing me?"
"Nothing so sophisticated. I wanted you. I would have taken you, but for your announcement that we were bound for Vulcan."
"To your...wife, or fiancée, or whatever she was."
"Yes. A betrothed I am now free of."
She held her chin up in the haughtiest way she could. "Am I supposed to care about that?"
"I had anticipated it might be welcome news."
"Big ego, Spock."
His eyes were amused. "I believe you want me. I know that I want you. It seems...elementary."
"I heard some things—that you needed to mate or die. Is that still the case? Is that why I'm here?" She really did not want that to be the reason she was here.
"I wish to have sex with you. The urge...it did not die during the combat, it is just no longer focused on T'Pring. And I will not die if you deny me your body. I called you here because I desire you." He moved toward her, until they were standing very close. "I want you. Only you."
"Just for tonight?"
"No, for much longer than that." He eased her hair out of the elastic that held it back, let if fall around her shoulders. "I have wanted you for some time. But I was not free to take what I wanted."
"Take? What about asking first?"
He almost smiled. "I stand corrected. You are not as accommodating as you initially appeared."
"You mean I'm not the doormat you thought I was? Wow, great compliment." She smiled to show him she didn't really mind him saying that; she knew some people thought of her that way. "So you think I'll just say 'Yes, Spock, please screw the living daylights out of me'?"
"Those were not the words I had practiced before you came."
"You practiced? For me? Awwww." She reached up, was charmed when he pressed his cheek into her hand. "You remember when I told you that I loved you—when I was under the influence of the virus?"
He nodded, his cheek still pressed to her palm.
"I didn't even know you back then. So clearly I didn't love you. But now...now I think I might."
His eyebrow went up. "You think you might?"
She laughed softly. "You expected a declaration of undying love?"
"To be honest, yes." He pulled her closer, surprising her again with how gentle he was being. "I am finding this somewhat frustrating. Do you wish to have sex with me?"
She grinned. "Yes, you big dope. Are you ever going to kiss me?"
He looked immensely relieved as he leaned in and touched his lips down on hers. He opened his mouth and moaned when she did the same. She pressed herself against him, realized that he really wanted her.
She thought she'd worn something simple, but he seemed to be having difficulty removing her clothing. She finally pushed him away and began to peel off his uniform, but he stopped her.
"No. You first. I want to see you."
"Never let it be said I don't grant wishes." She grinned as she slowly eased her shirt off, as she took her pants off even more slowly. She tried not to feel self conscious as he stared at her as she stood in her bra and panties.
"The rest. Take it off."
She realized she was getting a little tired of the he-man approach. "No. You next. Shirt and pants, mister, and make it snappy."
The man could double-time the hell out of uniform removal, he even pulled off his underwear in the process. As he stood in front of her, she smiled and said, "So handsome."
"I am marginally handsome on my planet. Some consider me too human looking."
"Well, to be honest, I was talking about him." She reached down and illustrated what part of him she meant—he nearly collapsed against her as she squeezed firmly. "But for what it's worth, I think the rest of you looks great, too."
"I am...gratified...my physical appearance...is not repellant." He finally pulled her hand away and scooped her up, carrying her to the bed, and easing her onto it.
"Do you want this off?" she asked, rubbing her fingers over her bra. "Or only out of the way?" She slowly pulled one of the cups down so it was both exposing and supporting her breast.
"That is most acceptable." He moved onto the bed, took care of the other cup, and began to rush to second base.
She might have complained about the lack of kisses before he found her breasts if what he was doing hadn't felt so damn good. Every time he found a place that made her shiver, he lingered, and she realized that touch telepathy was useful for more than just assessing mood.
She reached down for him, but he pushed her hand away and murmured, "Lie still. Enjoy this."
She decided to lie still—or as still as she could—and enjoy it. It was not difficult. When he slid his hand down her body and under her panties, she was lost.
His eyes were gleaming in a way she'd never seen when she could finally focus on him. And somehow he'd gotten her panties off her while she'd been recovering. Efficient to the core.
"Sorry. I was pretty noisy right then."
"I did not mind." He kissed her tenderly and stroked her cheek, then pressed his fingers into her skin. "Do you know what a mind meld is?"
She nodded. "You wish to read my mind?"
"The meld can be used to gather information. It can also be used to share sensation and emotion—emotion that I may not share sufficiently in other ways."
She smiled and reached up, pushing his fingers in deeper. "I'm game."
She felt a fuzziness for a moment, the way she had as a child when she'd just gotten off a ride at the amusement park. Then she felt Spock's essence and heard his voice in her head saying her name.
She felt very safe. Very...treasured. "Mmmmm." The sound came out both helpless and happy.
"You are all that I want," he said, but she wasn't sure if he'd spoken it or thought it. And as he moved over her and into her, it didn't matter. Sensation battered her, and his tenderness—tenderness that turned into passion—nearly overwhelmed her.
He eased up with his fingers and kissed her sweetly as he moved inside her. His need for her was intense and she wanted to help him, moved up to meet him as he took her, holding him tightly as he found his release. He let go of her face, and the meld lingered, dying slowly away as he wrapped his arms around her and cuddled her against him.
"T'Pring is an idiot, Spock. To leave this? Very stupid." She nuzzled his neck.
"She had another she preferred."
"I am not sorry. I have you now."
She laughed as she pulled him to her for another kiss. A long, very satisfying kiss. "Oh, so you think you have me, do you?"
He slipped his hand down her belly, lower and lower and—holy shit. "Am I mistaken, Christine?"
She tried to say, "I guess not," but the words came out mumbled as he moved his fingers. Finally, she just shook her head, and he kissed her cheek and said, "As I thought," just before making her moan and cry out again.
"I really like you," she said once she could form words again. "I don't mean love. I mean like. You make me smile. And you talk to me about science. And I feel good when I'm with you." She pulled him on top of her again.
He smoothed back her hair as he moved, more gently this time. "I am extraordinarily fond of you as well. I wish to spend time with you outside of this bedroom."
"Good." She wrapped her legs around him and rode out his passion. "Although for the record, I really like being in this bedroom."
His lips ticked up into a partial smile. "I do, as well." He rolled off of her, then pulled her back into his arms. "I like it very much."'